A SURGE in textbook printing orders from the government helped to offset the general malaise in the print media‚ Caxton said on Wednesday in its results for the year ended June.
Caxton reported a 7% rise in revenue to R5.16bn and a 11.7% rise in headline earnings per share to 122.2c. It raised its dividend 10% to 55c.
Caxton said on Wednesday it had contained its total increase in operating expenses to 6.2% despite large increases in power and fuel costs and the negative consequences of the fall in the rand‚ bearing in mind that most of its raw materials‚ equipment and spares are imported.
"Not only was it the last year of the introduction of a new curriculum‚ which has been introduced over a three-year term‚ but it would appear that the debacle caused by the nonsupply of textbooks to Limpopo has sparked government to substantially increase funds available for the provision of textbooks ‚” Caxton said. But the company warned it did not expect a similar windfall in textbook orders again in the short term as the new curriculum has now been installed for all grades.
Noting that print media was losing advertising spend to digital media‚ Caxton said it was faring better than most.
"Fortunately the areas within which the company’s newspapers operate‚ remain the community and regional markets and despite problems in the greater industry‚ these markets have in fact flourished and are experiencing growth‚” it said.
Besides free suburban "knock ’n drops”‚ Caxton’s newspaper interests include The Citizen. "A new and invigorated redesign of the paper‚ utilising overseas experts and an experienced designer‚ has just taken place and bodes well for the future‚” the company said. But its magazine division had a tough year and did not achieve its budget. Its magazine distribution company RNA also missed budget.
Caxton is investing in more modern presses. "An additional gravure press is currently being installed in the Durban factory and will be in production towards the end of the calendar year.
"It is anticipated that substantial savings will be made‚” Caxton said. © BDlive 2013